Fiscal Year 2007 Monitoring Report on the Vocational

Document Sample
Fiscal Year 2007 Monitoring Report on the Vocational Powered By Docstoc
					  Fiscal Year 2007 Monitoring Report
on the Vocational Rehabilitation and
 Independent Living Programs in the
                State of
             South Dakota




     U.S. Department of Education
    Office of Special Education and
        Rehabilitative Services
 Rehabilitation Services Administration
          September 7, 2007
                       CONTENTS




                                           Page


EXECUTIVE SUMMARY………………………………………… 3


INTRODUCTION………………………………………………….. 6


CHAPTER 1: REVIEW PROCESS……………………….………. 8


CHAPTER 2: DIVISION OF REHABILITATION SERVICES
VOCATIONAL REHABILITATION AND SUPPORTED
EMPLOYMENT PROGRAMS……………….…………………… 10


CHAPTER 3: FISCAL REVIEW OF DRS……………………….. 21


CHAPTER 4: SERVICE TO THE BLIND AND VISUALLY
IMPARIED VOCATIONAL REHABILITATION AND
SUPPORTED EMPLOYMENT PROGRAMS……………………..25


CHAPTER 5: FISCAL REVIEW OF SBVI………………………. 35


CHAPTER 6: INDEPENDENT LIVING PROGRAM ..………….39


CHAPTER 7: INDEPENDENT LIVING FOR OLDER BLIND
PROGRAM..……………………………………………………….. 45


CHAPTER 8: SUMMARY CONCLUSION……………………. ..48


APPENDIX: DATA TABLES……………………………………..56




                         2
                           Executive Summary
The Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) reviewed the performance of
the following programs of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended (the Act),
in the state of South Dakota (SD):

        the Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Services Program, established under
         Title I;
        the Supported Employment (SE) Services Program, established under
         Title VI, Part B;
        the Independent Living (IL) Services Program, authorized under Title
         VII, Chapter 1, Part B; and
        the Independent Living Services Program for Older Individuals Who
         Are Blind (OIB), established under Title VII, Chapter 2.

In SD, the two separate agencies responsible for administering the VR and SE
programs are the Division of Rehabilitation Services (DRS) and the Division of
Service to the Blind and Visually Impaired (SBVI). DRS, SBVI, and the
statewide independent living council jointly administer the IL program under Title
VII, Chapter1, Part B, and SBVI administers the OIB program under Title VII,
Chapter 2.

RSA’s review began in the fall of 2006 and ended in the summer of 2007. During
this time, RSA’s SD state team:

        gathered and reviewed information regarding each program’s
         performance;
        identified a wide range of VR and IL stakeholders and invited them to
         provide input into the review process;
        conducted an on-site visit, and held discussions with staff of DRS,
         SBVI, members of DRS’ and SBVI’s SRCs, staff and members of the
         statewide independent living council (SILC), and stakeholders to share
         information and identify promising practices and areas for improvement;
        provided technical assistance;
        worked with DRS, SBVI, and stakeholders to develop goals and
         strategies to address performance issues; and
        identified the technical assistance (TA) that RSA would provide to help
         improve program performance.

As a result of the review, RSA:

        identified promising practices;
        identified performance issues;
        developed performance goals and strategies related to selected issues;




                                        3
           identified the TA to be provided to assist the agencies to achieve the
            goals identified as a result of the review;
           made recommendations; and
           identified potential issues for further review.

RSA, DRS, SBVI, and their stakeholders identified strengths and challenges of
the VR, SE, and IL programs.

DRS

   Strengths:

          consistently met and/or exceeded the required performance on the VR
           standards and performance indicators since FY 2000;
          emphasis on serving individuals with the most significant disabilities,
           particularly individuals in supported employment;
          productive working relationship with SBVI to maximize VR resources;
          enhanced accountability of formula grants through monthly grant award
           reports;
          effective partnerships with the SRC, the SILC, stakeholders, and other
           state agencies;
          utilization of the SDCCD to provide administrative support to the SILC
           and the SRC; and
          collaborative IL services program that utilizes CILs, other service
           providers, community partners, and volunteers to increase independence
           through home modifications and assistive devices.

   Challenges:

          increasing wages for individuals with disabilities;
          continuing to implement the order of selection consistently throughout the
           state;
          identifying employment opportunities in higher paying occupations; and
          providing VR, SE, and IL services in a predominately rural/frontier
           environment.

SBVI

    Strengths:

          consistently met/and or exceeded the required performance on the VR
           standards and performance indicators since FY 2000;
          enhanced accountability of formula grants through monthly grant award
           reports;




                                            4
   effective partnerships with the SRC, the SILC, stakeholders, and other
    state agencies;
   statewide partnerships with other service agencies and consumer
    organizations, including the SD School for the Blind; and
   productive working relationship with DRS to maximize VR resources.

Challenges:

   growing population of older individuals who are blind that outpaces the
    level of resources available to meet the service needs;
   identifying employment opportunities with medical benefits; and
   providing VR, SE, and OIB services in a predominately rural/frontier
    environment.




                                    5
                                    Introduction
Section 107 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended (the Act), requires the
commissioner of the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) to conduct
annual reviews and periodic on-site monitoring of programs authorized under
Title I of the Act to determine whether a state vocational rehabilitation (VR)
agency is complying substantially with the provisions of its state plan under
section 101 of the Act and with the evaluation standards and performance
indicators established under section 106. In addition, the commissioner must
assess the degree to which VR agencies are complying with the assurances made
in the supplement for supported employment under Title VI of the Act and
programs offered under Title VII of the Act are substantially complying with their
respective state plan assurances and program requirements.

In order to fulfill its monitoring responsibilities, RSA:

             reviews the state agency’s performance in assisting eligible individuals
              with disabilities to achieve high-quality employment and independent
              living outcomes;
             develops, jointly with the state agency, performance and compliance
              goals as well as strategies to achieve those goals; and
             provides technical assistance (TA) to the state agency in order to
              improve its performance, meet its goals, and fulfill its state plan
              assurances.

Scope of the Review

RSA reviewed the performance of the following programs of the Act:

            the Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Services Program, established under
             Title I;
            the Supported Employment (SE) Services Program, established under
             Title VI, Part B;
            the Independent Living (IL) Services Program, authorized under Title
             VII, Chapter 1, Part B; and
            the Independent Living Services Program for Older Individuals Who
             Are Blind (OIB), established under Title VII, Chapter 2.

South Dakota Administration of the VR, SE, IL, and OIB Programs

In SD, the Department of Human Services (DHS) serves as the designated state
agency (DSA) for the two VR agencies that administer the VR and SE programs.
The Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DRS) is the designated state unit
(DSU) for the general VR services program, and the Division of Service to the
Blind and Visually Impaired (SBVI) is the separate DSU for individuals who are


                                           6
blind or visually impaired. DRS, SBVI, and the SD SILC jointly administer the
IL program under Chapter 1, Part B, and SBVI administers the OIB program
under Chapter 2.

For the four programs listed above, this report describes RSA’s review of DRS
and SBVI, provides information on the agencies’ performance, identifies
promising practices, identifies performance and compliance issues, and identifies
the related goals, strategies, and TA that RSA will provide to DRS and SBVI to
address each of the issues identified during the review.

Appreciation

RSA wishes to express appreciation to the representatives of DHS, DRS, SBVI,
DRS’ and SBVI’s State Rehabilitation Councils, the Statewide Independent
Living Council, the Coalition of Citizens with Disabilities (CCD), the Black Hills
Special Services Cooperative (BHSSC), Advocacy Services, the SD centers for
independent living, the state Office of Special Education, Dakota Link, and other
stakeholders who assisted the RSA monitoring team in the review of the SD VR,
SE and IL programs.




                                        7
                 Chapter 1: RSA’s Review Process
Data Used During the Review

RSA’s review of the SD VR, SE, and IL programs began in the fall of 2006 and
ended in the summer of 2007. RSA’s data collections are finalized and available
at different times throughout the year. During this review, RSA and the state
agencies used the most recent data that were available from the FY 2005 and
FY 2006 collections. As a result, this report cites data from FY 2005 and
FY 2006.

Review Process Activities

During the review process RSA’s SD state team:

        gathered and reviewed information regarding DRS’ and SBVI’s
         performance;
        identified a wide range of VR and IL stakeholders and invited them to
         provide input into the review process;
        conducted an on-site visit, and held multiple discussions with DRS and
         SBVI staff, SRC members, SILC members, and stakeholders to share
         information, identify promising practices and areas for improvement;
        provided TA to DRS and SBVI;
        worked with DRS and SBVI to develop goals, strategies, and evaluation
         methods to address performance issues;
        made recommendations to DRS;
        identified potential issues for further review; and
        identified the TA that RSA would provide to help improve the
         performance of the SD VR, SE, and IL programs.

RSA SD State Team Review Participants

Members of RSA’s SD state team included representatives from each of RSA’s
State Monitoring and Program Improvement’s (SMPID’s) five functional units.
The RSA SD state team was led by RSA’s state liaison to SD, Sue Rankin-White
(technical assistance unit) and included: Suzanne Tillman (vocational
rehabilitation unit), Elizabeth Akinola, (independent living unit), Regina Luster
(fiscal unit), and Jean Yan (data unit).

Information Gathering

During FY 2007, RSA began its review of the SD VR, SE and IL programs by
analyzing information including, but not limited to, RSA’s various data
collections, DRS’ and SBVI’s VR state plans, SD’s state plan for independent
living, and DRS’ and SBVI’s State Rehabilitation Councils’ (SRCs’) annual


                                        8
reports. After completing its internal review, the RSA state team carried out the
following information gathering activities with DRS and SBVI and stakeholders
in order to gain a greater understanding of the strengths and challenges of the SD
VR, SE, and IL programs:

        conducted a series of teleconferences with VR and IL stakeholders;
        conducted monthly teleconferences with DRS and SBVI management
         beginning in November, 2006;
        conducted teleconferences with DRS IL program staff, SILC members
         and administrative staff, and OIB staff;
        conducted an on-site monitoring visit from June 11, 2007 through June
         15, 2007 and met with staff of DHS, DRS, SBVI, SBVI’s Rehabilitation
         Center, the CAP and PAIR, and members of the SILC and SRCs; and
        conducted two statewide video conferences with DRS and SBVI
         stakeholders during the week of the on-site visit to share data about
         DRS’ and SBVI’s performance, provide information about DRS’ and
         SBVI’s monitoring goals, and solicit their input on the goals.




                                         9
       Chapter 2: Vocational Rehabilitation and Supported
                  Employment Programs: DRS
Table 1 provides fiscal and program data for fiscal years 2002 through 2006.
These data provide an overview of the VR program’s costs, outcomes, and
efficiency. The table identifies the amount of funds used by the agency, the
number of individuals who applied, and the number who received services. It
also provides information about the quality of the agency’s employment outcomes
and its transition services.

                     Table 1. DRS Program Highlights, 2002 - 2006

SOUTH DAKOTA –                 2002          2003          2004          2005          2006
General

Total funds used          $9,065,793   $10,546,518   $11,218,337   $12,249,623   $10,690,153
Individuals served            3,012          3,365         3,299         3,854         3,320
during year
Applicants                    2,732          2,883         2,955         2,805         2,598
Closed after receiving        1,249          1,199         1,258         1,480         1,456
services
Closed with                     840           750           775           830           859
employment outcomes
Employment                      355           510           513           551           576
outcomes without
supports in an
integrated setting
Average cost per           $3,009.89     $3,134.18     $3,400.53     $3,178.42     $3,219.93
individual served
Average cost per          $10,792.61    $14,062.02    $14,475.27    $14,758.58    $12,444.88
employment outcome
Employment                    92.66          71.11         69.08         67.76         80.35
outcomes per $million
spent
Competitive                   90.78          70.07         67.57         65.55         79.23
employment outcomes
per $million spent
Average hourly                $7.85          $7.79         $7.89         $7.80         $7.71
earnings for paid
employment outcomes
Average state hourly         $12.67        $13.08        $13.46        $13.96        $14.40
earnings
Average hours worked          29.85          29.50         29.15         28.60         27.88
per week for paid
employment outcomes




                                             10
SOUTH DAKOTA –              2002        2003        2004        2005         2006
General

Percent of transition      32.51       29.02       28.46        28.11       30.01
age served to total
served
Employment rate for        68.47       62.64       62.85        55.77       54.00
transition age served
Average time between       24.20       23.90       23.10        25.90       23.50
application and
closure (in months) for
individuals with
successful paid
employment outcomes
Average number of          44.29       49.49       47.81        55.86       48.12
individuals served per
total staff


Provision of Technical Assistance to the DRS VR and SE Programs During the
Review Process

RSA provided TA to DRS in a number of VR and SE program areas during the
review process. RSA:

          verified the agency’s RSA 911 case record data for FY 2004, FY 2005,
           and FY 2006;
          provided feedback to the agency on its case management system;
          provided training on how to use RSA’s Management Information
           System;
          provided TA on state plan requirements, including the requirements
           related to the comprehensive statewide needs assessment, order of
           selection, supported employment, and statewideness;
          provided TA on the service record review instrument used for quality
           assurance; and
          provided TA on 911 reporting of supported employment closures.

Promising VR and SE Practices Identified by DRS and Stakeholders During the
Review Process

RSA’s review process solicited input from DRS and stakeholders about promising
practices. The following promising practices were identified:

1. Quality Assurance (QA)--Service Record Review

As part of its QA activities, DRS conducts an annual service record review to
assess compliance with VR program requirements. State agency management and
counselors from across the state participate in the review of active and closed
records. DRS utilizes a review instrument for this process that is consistent with
federal requirements. The process allows for special reviews on specific


                                        11
requirements, such as the 2007 review that focused on the implementation of the
order of selection. The review questions are designed to assess consistency in
assigning individuals to priority categories. During the process, participants
identify promising practices that are shared with all counselors as well as problem
areas that are addressed in statewide training sessions. The identification of
problem areas serves to alert DRS management of the need to provide additional
policy guidance. DRS’ service record review enhances accountability, promotes
consistency among staff with respect to the implementation of state and federal
requirements, and is aligned with the identification and sharing of promising
practices, staff training, and policy revision.

2. Leveraging Resources and Maximizing Access to Services for Transition
Youths Through Statewide Partnerships

Through a partnership between DRS, SBVI, and the state Department of
Education, SD established the Transition Services Liaison Project (TSLP),
designed to expand employment opportunities for transition youths with
disabilities. On behalf of the partnership, BHSSC, established as a service
cooperative in state government, administers and coordinates TSLP services and
programs described below.

      Project Skills – This program provides paid work experiences for high
       school students with disabilities. DRS and SBVI provide funding for
       wages, Federal Insurance Contribution Act, worker’s compensation, and
       other costs needed for employment, such as uniforms and other work-
       related supplies. The local school district provides job development, job
       coaching, and on-the-job monitoring.
      Catch the Wave – This program provides post-secondary orientation.
       Catch the Wave is a one-day conference designed for students with
       disabilities who may be considering post-secondary education. Students
       have an opportunity to learn about preparing for college, including
       securing necessary accommodations and developing self-advocacy and
       communication skills. The conference features opportunities to dialogue
       with other students with disabilities with post-secondary experiences.
      Youth Leadership Forum – This program provides career and leadership
       training for high school juniors and seniors. Through a statewide
       competition, student delegates with leadership potential are chosen to
       participate in this annual five-day event conducted on the campus of the
       University of SD at Sioux Falls. During the forum they participate in
       activities designed to enhance leadership, citizenship, and social skills.
      Transition Tacklebox – This program provides web-based resources for
       students with disabilities, their families, special education agencies, and
       VR counselors. The Tacklebox includes a variety of information resources
       designed to assist students with disabilities in making decisions about
       postsecondary training and community-based living.



                                        12
The TSLP demonstrates how state departments and agencies partner together to
leverage resources for the benefit of transition youths with disabilities.

3. Management Information System: VR FACES--Fully Automated Computer
Enhanced System

DRS’ management information system, VR FACES, is tailored to meet the needs
of staff and is user-friendly for administrative and case management functions.
FACES generates authorizations for the payment of VR services and case
management reports, has built-in security mechanisms to safeguard against
misuse or abuse of the system as well as built-in edits to ensure that data inputted
are reasonable, includes alerts keyed to rehabilitation timelines, and houses the
VR counselor manual, forms, resources and templates for letters. Through its
electronic case management functions, FACES enables VR counselors to
complete rehabilitation process forms including case notes. Altogether, the
features contained in FACES enable DRS staff and management to carry out
administrative functions more efficiently and contribute to meeting critical
timelines and monitor compliance with state and federal requirements.

VR and SE Issues Identified by DRS and Stakeholders During the Review
Process

RSA’s review process solicited input from DRS and stakeholders about VR and
SE performance and compliance issues. The following issues were identified:

        that DRS serves a high number of individuals who are recipients or
         beneficiaries of Social Security benefits and their earnings are low;
        that DRS serves a high number of individuals in supported employment,
         their earnings are low, and they work fewer hours than individuals who
         are not in SE;
        the impact of the federal increase in the minimum wage on individuals
         with disabilities;
        the benefit of the Medical Assistance for Workers with Disabilities
         program in providing medical benefits to individuals seeking
         employment through the VR program;
        the positive impact of the SD transition programs and partnerships in the
         Transition Services Liaison Project (TSLP) on employment outcomes
         for transition youths; and
        the need to continue to partner with other state agencies to enhance
         resources.

Following compilation and discussion with DRS about these issues, RSA worked
with DRS to address as many of these issues as possible either directly or by
consolidating the issue into a broader issue area.




                                         13
DRS VR and SE Performance Issues, Goals, Strategies, and Technical Assistance

RSA and DRS agreed on the following performance goals, strategies to achieve
those goals, and TA that RSA would provide to assist DRS to achieve each goal.
These goals and strategies are aligned with the goals in DRS’ FY 2008 state plan.
They may be considered for inclusion in DRS’ FY 2009 state plan, and, if they
are included, progress on achieving these goals will be reported in DRS’ FY 2010
annual state plan submission.

1. Hourly Earnings

Issue: The average hourly earnings for individuals who achieved paid
employment outcomes after receiving services from DRS decreased from $7.85 in
FY 2002 to $7.71 in FY 2006. In contrast, the average state hourly wage
increased gradually from $12.67 in 2002 to $14.40 in 2006 (see Table 1).

Performance Indicator 1.5 for the VR program indicates the average hourly wage
earned by those with employment outcomes from DRS who earned at least
minimum wage as a ratio to the state average hourly wage earned by all workers
with earnings in SD. The minimum performance level for state VR agencies is a
ratio of 0.52. DRS’ performance on Indicator 1.5 gradually declined from 0.64 in
FY 2001 to 0.54 in FY 2006. DRS is concerned about its declining performance
on Indicator 1.5 and the impact of low wages on the lives of individuals with
disabilities.

To gain a better understanding of the factors that may be contributing to overall
low wages for those served by DRS, RSA, together with DRS, analyzed selected
characteristics across a range of hourly wages for 859 individuals who achieved
an employment outcome during FY 2006 (see Table 14 in the Appendix for
complete wage analysis information.). The analysis shows that a majority of
these individuals (766 or 89 percent) earned $10 or less per hour. Of those
earning $10 or less per hour:

          12 individuals (1 percent) earned less than the federal minimum wage
           ($5.14 or less); and
          the remaining 754 individuals (88 percent) earned between $5.15 and
           $10 per hour.

DRS focuses on serving youths with disabilities, individuals seeking a supported
employment outcome, and individuals receiving Supplemental Security Income
(SSI) and/or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) from the Social Security
Administration (SSA). These are groups that typically earn low wages. The
wage analysis data (Table 14 in the Appendix) shows that approximately one third
to one half of the 754 individuals earning between $5.15 and $10 per hour shared
one or more of these characteristics:




                                        14
                363 individuals (48 percent) were on SSI/SSDI at exit;
                238 individuals (32 percent) were transition age (14 – 24 years) at
                 application; and
                259 individuals (34 percent) achieved employment outcomes with
                 supports.

RSA and DRS analyzed data for the individuals who achieved employment
outcomes with and without supports in FY 2006 after receiving services from
DRS to explore the impact of: (1) age, (2) receipt of SSI/SSDI at the time of exit
from the VR program, and (3) type of employment outcome on the average hourly
wages (see Table 2). The analysis indicates that:

                the transition age group averaged lower hourly wages than other VR
                 participants;
                within age groups, individuals receiving SSI/SSDI at exit averaged the
                 lowest hourly wages, regardless of type of employment outcome; and
                the range of average hourly wages for those achieving employment
                 with supports ($5.90 to $7.70) was lower than the range of $6.70 to
                 $9.40 for those achieving employment without supports.

                                        Table 2
                 Selected Factors and Average Hourly Wages – FY 2006

        Age group at            SSI/SSDI      Type of employment         Average hourly
         application             at exit           outcome                   wage

Transition (14-24 years)           Yes           With supports                 $5.90
Transition (14-24 years)           Yes          Without supports               $6.70
Transition (14-24 years)           No            With supports                 $6.90
Transition (14-24 years)           No           Without supports               $8.70

    All other   (25 & above)       Yes           With supports                 $6.30
    All other   (25 & above)       Yes          Without supports               $7.40
    All other   (25 & above)       No            With supports                 $7.70
    All other   (25 & above)       No           Without supports               $9.40

DRS publishes a year end report that provides data on the occupations of those
individuals achieving employment outcomes. According to the FY 2006 Year
End Report, 45 percent of individuals with all types of employment outcomes and
73 percent of individuals with supported employment outcomes were employed in
service occupations that typically pay lower wages.1

The provision of postsecondary education services is one method for assisting
individuals to achieve employment in occupations that pay higher wages. Ninety

1
 South Dakota Department of Human Services, Division of Rehabilitation Services, FFY 2006
Year End Report, pages 9 and 14.


                                              15
three (11 percent) of all the individuals who achieved employment outcomes for
FY 2006 received postsecondary education and 63 individuals (8 percent) of all
individuals earning from $5.15 to $10 per hour received postsecondary education
(see Table 14 in the Appendix).

Goal 1: Over the next three years, DRS will narrow the gap between the average
hourly earnings of individuals exiting the VR program with a paid employment
outcome and the state average hourly earnings, as addressed in Performance
Indicator 1.5. (benchmarks for FY 2006: transition (individuals under 21 years at
application) - $7.80; SSA group (individuals receiving SSA benefits at
application) - $6.93;. SE group (individuals with a supported employment goal
who achieved an employment outcome) - $6.40; all individuals - $8.19)

Strategies:

   1. Maximize postsecondary training.
   2. Identify higher paying positions for individuals with disabilities.
   3. Increase and strengthen transition services for students with disabilities
      who are exploring their employment future to increase earnings.
   4. Work with providers on increasing consumer earnings.
   5. Operationalize Medical Assistance for Workers with Disabilities
      (MAWD) to increase earnings.
   6. Educate individuals who are SSA recipients about ways to maximize
      earnings and retain benefits.
   7. Review files of consumers earning less than minimum wage to determine
      improvement areas to increase earnings.
   8. Monitor the impact of increases in minimum wage on average hourly
      earnings compared with benchmarks for FY 2006.

Method of Evaluation: In FY 2008, DRS will be successful if it maintains its
performance on Indicator 1.5 compared to FY 2007; in FY 2009, if it improves
compared with FY 2008; in FY 2010, if it improves compared with FY 2009.

Technical Assistance: RSA will provide resources in the area of data analysis to
enable DRS to continue to evaluate the impact of factors contributing to overall
low wages.

2. Hours worked

Issue: Individuals earning low hourly wages can increase their overall wages by
working more hours per week. However, from FY 2002 to FY 2006, the average
hours worked per week for those DRS participants with earnings declined slightly
from 30 to 28 hours (see Table 1). DRS is concerned that increases in the federal




                                       16
minimum wage2 followed by increases in the state minimum wage will result in
further reductions.

Of the individuals who achieved an employment outcome from DRS during FY
2006, the hourly wage analysis (Table 14 in the Appendix) indicates that
individuals with lower average hourly wages also worked fewer average hours per
week. Table 3 below represents an analysis of the relationship of wages and
hours to weekly wages for the 830 individuals who earned the state average
hourly wage ($14.40) or less. Individuals with hourly wages of $5.14 or less
worked about 21 hours per week for an average weekly wage of $61. In
comparison, individuals with hourly wages of $10.01 to $14.40 worked about 38
hours per week for an average weekly wage of $444.

                                    Table 3
                  Wages, Hours, and Weekly Earnings – FY 2006
                                    N = 830

    Average hourly wage       Average hours worked/ week              Average weekly wage
        $5.14 or less                     21                                  $61
       $5.15 – 10.00                      27                                 $195
       $10.01 – 14.40                     38                                 $444

RSA and DRS analyzed the data for the individuals who achieved employment
outcomes with and without supports in FY 2006 after receiving services from
DRS to explore how age, SSA benefits at exit, and type of employment outcome
impact the average hours worked per week (see Table 4). The results of that
analysis indicate the following:

            the lowest average hours worked per week (18 hours) were for
             individuals of any age who were receiving SSI/SSDI at exit and
             employed with supports;
            individuals receiving SSI/SSDI at exit averaged fewer work hours per
             week compared with those who were not receiving such benefits,
             regardless of age or type of employment outcome;
            for those receiving SSI/SSDI at exit, the average weekly work hours
             ranged from 18 to 24 hours compared with a range of 31 to 35 hours
             for individuals who were not receiving SSI/SSDI at exit; and
            the highest average hours worked per week (35 hours) were for
             individuals of transition age who were not receiving SSI/SSDI at exit
             and who achieved employment without supports.

2
  The federal minimum wage increases from $5.15 to $5.85 in 2007, followed by a second
increase to $6.55 in 2008, and a final increase to $7.25 in 2009. During the review, DRS indicated
that 80 percent of SD employers are small businesses with fewer than 15 employees and may have
difficulty absorbing the increase in minimum wages without reducing the hours worked by
employees.



                                               17
                                  Table 4
      Selected Factors and Average Hours Worked Per Week – FY 2006

Age group at               SSI/SSDI    Type of employment       Average hours
application                at exit     outcome                  worked/ week

Transition (14-24 years)   Yes         With supports            18.2
All other (25 & above)     Yes         With supports            18.0

Transition (14-24 years)   Yes         Without supports         21.4
All other (25 & above)     Yes         Without supports         24.2

Transition (14-24 years)   No          With supports            32.8
All other (25 & above)     No          With supports            30.6

Transition (14-24 years)   No          Without supports         35.2
All other (25 & above)     No          Without supports         33.3

DRS indicated that one reason individuals receiving SSI/SSDI at exit may work
fewer hours is to avoid earnings that rise above the substantial gainful activity
(SGA) level established by SSA as the point at which SSA benefits, including
health care benefits, are terminated.

Goal 2: Over the next three years, DRS will maintain and/or increase the average
hours worked per week by individuals exiting the VR program with a paid
employment outcome in order to improve their overall wages. (benchmarks FY
2006: transition cases (individuals under 21 years at application) - 34.82
hours/wk; SSA cases (individuals receiving SSA benefits at application) - 21.49
hours/wk; SE cases (individuals with a supported employment goal who achieved
an employment outcome) - 19.59 hours/wk; all cases - 27.88 hours/wk)

Strategies:

    1. Educate individuals who are SSA recipients about the benefits of
       employment and ways to maximize their work hours and retain their
       benefits.
    2. Operationalize Medical Assistance for Workers with Disabilities
       (MAWD) to increase the hours of employment.
    3. Review files of consumers working fewer than 10 hours per week to
       determine improvement areas to increase hours of employment.
    4. Assess the impact of increases in minimum wage on average hours
       worked for Transition, SSA, SE and all cases, compared with federal FY
       2006 benchmarks.

Method of Evaluation: In FY 2008, DRS will be successful if the average hours
worked weekly remains the same or increases for transition youths, SSA, SE and
all cases when compared with FY 2007; in FY 2009, if the average hours worked


                                        18
remains the same or increases when compared with FY 2008; in FY 2010, if the
average hours worked remains the same or increases when compared with FY
2009. (all cases, transition, SSA, SE)

Technical Assistance: RSA will provide TA resources in the area of data analysis
to enable DRS to continue to evaluate the impact of factors contributing to the
number of hours worked, including data related to the increase in the federal
minimum wage.

3. Employment Outcomes

Issue: Performance Indicator 1.2 for the VR program indicates the percentage of
individuals who achieve an employment outcome of all individuals who received
services and exited the VR program. The minimum performance level is 55.80
percent for a general state VR agency, such as DRS. DRS’ performance on
Indicator 1.2 generally declined from 69.96 percent in FY 2001 to 59.00 percent
in FY 2006, with its lowest performance (56.08 percent) occurring in FY 2005.
DRS is concerned about its performance on Indicator 1.2.

Discussion during the FY 2007 monitoring review process focused on the impact
of serving youths with disabilities and individuals receiving SSI/SSDI on DRS’
overall performance on Indicator 1.2. For transition age youths with disabilities,
the percentage of those who achieve an employment outcome of all those
receiving services and exiting the DRS program generally declined from 69
percent in 2002 to 54 percent in 2006 (see Table 1). Data reviewed during the
monitoring process indicates that all those receiving SSI/SSDI at application
achieved an employment rate of 60 percent compared to 58 percent for those
receiving SSI/SSDI at the time of exit (see Table 5). These monitoring data also
indicate that of the 1456 individuals who exited the DRS program in FY 2006
after receiving services, about one quarter to almost one half shared one or more
of the following characteristics:

       383 individuals (26 percent) were transition age youths with disabilities;
       613 individuals (42 percent) were receiving SSI/SSDI at the time of
        application; and
       662 individuals (45 percent) were receiving SSI/SSDI at the time of exit.

                                     Table 5
                Selected Factors and Employment Rate – FY 2006
                                     N = 1456

                        Total      Transition      SSI/SSDI at       SSI/SSDI at
                                   Age             application       exit
No. leaving after       1456       383             613               662
services
Percent leaving after   100%       26%             42%               45%
services


                                         19
No. employed           859        206             370              383
Employment rate        59%        54%             60%              58%

Goal 3: Over the next three years, DRS will maintain and/or improve the
employment rate of individuals with disabilities to address Performance Indicator
1.2 (all cases, transition, SSA, SE).

Strategies:

   1. Create partnerships with the business community to increase employment
      outcomes.
   2. Support employer activities of hiring individuals with disabilities.
   3. Strengthen working relationships with entities, agencies, and organizations
      to enhance the delivery of vocational rehabilitation services to increase
      employment outcomes.
   4. Market individuals with disabilities to employers.
   5. Promote and utilize performance based contracts to increase employment
      outcomes.
   6. Assess the impact of Order of Selection to this performance indicator.

Method of Evaluation: In FY 2008, DRS will be successful if the employment
rate of individuals with disabilities is maintained and/or improved compared with
FY 2007; in FY 2009, if the employment rate is maintained or improved
compared with FY 2008; and in FY 2010, if the employment rate is maintained or
improved compared with FY 2009. (all cases, transition cases, SSA cases, SE
cases)

Technical Assistance: RSA will provide TA resources in the area of data analysis
to enable DRS to continue to evaluate the impact of factors that influence the
rehabilitation rate for specific populations.




                                        20
                        Chapter 3: Fiscal Review of DRS
RSA reviewed DRS’ fiscal management of the VR program. During the review
process RSA provided technical assistance to the state agency to improve its fiscal
management and identified areas for improvement. RSA reviewed the general
effectiveness of the agency’s cost and financial controls, internal processes for the
expenditure of funds, use of appropriate accounting practices, and financial
management systems.

The data in the following table, taken from fiscal reports submitted by the state
agencies, speak to the overall fiscal performance of the agency. The data related
to matching requirements are taken from the fourth quarter of the respective fiscal
year’s SF-269 report. The maintenance of effort (MOE) requirement data are
taken from the final SF-269 report of the fiscal year (two years prior to the fiscal
year to which it is compared). Fiscal data related to administration, total
expenditures, and administrative cost percentage are taken from the RSA-2.

                                       Table 6
                  Fiscal Data for DRS for FY 2002 through FY 2006

                                             South Dakota (G)
 Fiscal Year                                     2002         2003         2004         2005          2006

 Grant Amount                                   6,683,968    6,778,791    6,920,610    6,943,586     7,214,029

 Required Match                                 1,809,003    1,834,666    1,873,049    1,879,268     1,952,463

 Federal Expenditures                           6,001,343    6,263,791    6,920,610    6,943,586     7,214,029

 Actual Match                                   1,948,697    2,046,254    2,129,723    2,655,210     2,702,365

 Over (Under) Match                              139,694      211,588      256,674      775,942       749,902

 Carryover                                       682,625      515,000             0             0             0

 Program Income                                  827,532      576,530      230,490      213,427       335,710

 Maintenance of Effort (MOE)                    1,666,124    1,729,140    1,809,215    1,834,819     1,873,336



 Administrative Costs                            891,380      989,167      894,597      900,942       926,806

 Total Expenditures                             9,065,793   10,546,518   11,218,337   12,249,623    10,690,153

 Percent Admin Costs to Total Expenditures       9.83%       9.38%        7.97%         7.35%         8.67%


Explanations Applicable to the Fiscal Profile Table

Grant Amount: The amounts shown represent the final award for each fiscal year,
and reflect any adjustments for MOE penalties, reductions for grant funds


                                                21
voluntarily relinquished through the reallotment process, or additional grant funds
received through the reallotment process.

Match (Non-Federal Expenditures): The non-federal share of expenditures in the
Basic Support Program, other than for the construction of a facility related to a
community rehabilitation program, was established in the 1992 amendments to
the Rehabilitation Act at 21.3 percent. As such, a minimum of 21.3 percent of the
total allowable program costs charged to each year’s grant must come from non-
federal expenditures from allowable sources as defined in program and
administrative regulations governing the VR Program. (34 CFR 361.60(a) and (b);
34 CFR 80.24)

In reviewing compliance with this requirement, RSA examined the
appropriateness of the sources of funds used as match in the VR program, the
amount of funds used as match from appropriate sources, and the projected
amount of state appropriated funds available for match in each federal fiscal year.
The accuracy of expenditure information previously reported in financial and
program reports submitted to RSA was also reviewed.

Carryover: Federal funds appropriated for a fiscal year remain available for
obligation in the succeeding fiscal year only to the extent that the VR agency met
the matching requirement for those federal funds by September 30 of the year of
appropriation. (34 CFR 361.64(b)) Either expending or obligating the non-
federal share of program expenditures by this deadline may meet this carryover
requirement.

In reviewing compliance with the carryover requirement, RSA examined
documentation supporting expenditure and unliquidated obligation information
previously reported to RSA to substantiate the extent to which the state was
entitled to use any federal funds remaining at the end of the fiscal year for which
the funds were appropriated.

Program Income: Program income means gross income received by the state that
is directly generated by an activity supported under a federal grant program.
Sources of state VR program income include, but are not limited to, payments
from the Social Security Administration for rehabilitating Social Security
beneficiaries, payments received from workers’ compensation funds, fees for
services to defray part or all of the costs of services provided to particular
individuals, and income generated by a state-operated community rehabilitation
program. Program income earned (received) in one fiscal year can be carried over
and obligated in the following fiscal year regardless of whether the agency carries
over federal grant funds. Grantees may also transfer program income received
from the Social Security Administration for rehabilitating Social Security
beneficiaries to other formula programs funded under the Act to expand services
under these programs.



                                         22
In reviewing program income, RSA analyzed the total amount (as compared to
the total percentage of income earned by all VR agencies and comparable/like VR
agencies), sources, and use of generated income.

Maintenance of Effort (MOE): The 1992 amendments revised the requirements
in section 111(a)(2)(B)(ii) of the Act with respect to maintenance of effort
provisions. Effective federal FY 1993 and each federal fiscal year thereafter, the
maintenance of effort level is based on state expenditures under the title I State
plan from non-federal sources for the federal fiscal year two years earlier. States
must meet this prior year expenditure level to avoid monetary sanctions outlined
in 34 CFR 361.62(a)(1). The match and maintenance of effort requirements are
two separate requirements. Each must be met by the state.

In reviewing compliance with this requirement, RSA examined documentation
supporting fiscal year-end and final non-federal expenditures previously reported
for each grant year.

Administrative Costs: Administrative costs means expenditures incurred in the
performance of administrative functions including expenses related to program
planning, development, monitoring and evaluation. More detail related to
expenditures that should be classified as administrative costs is found in VR
Program regulations at 34 CFR 361.5(b)(2).

Provision of Technical Assistance to the VR and SE Programs During the Review
Process:

RSA provided technical assistance to DRS in a number of fiscal areas during the
review. RSA:

      after providing a synopsis of each requirement, shared its assessment of
       the agency’s compliance with specific financial requirements – match,
       MOE, carryover, reallotment, program income, liquidation of outstanding
       obligations and grant closeout;
      reviewed allowability of sources of matching funds and availability of
       sufficient match to closeout FY 2007 and sources projected for FY 2008;
      discussed challenges faced in ensuring that adequate funds are available
       each fiscal year to meet VR Program match and maintenance of effort
       requirements;
      reviewed requirements for reporting expenditures to the VR Program, e.g.,
       expenses (including salary costs) related to Independent Living Programs
       must be charged to those programs, although program income from Social
       Security reimbursements may be transferred to these programs to cover
       salaries and any other allowable program cost;
      suggested DRS fiscal staff review the State Plan attachments related to the
       expenditure of VR Program funds for Innovation and Expansion (I & E)



                                         23
       activities to ensure that all expenditures are captured and reported on
       Financial Status Reports for the VR Program;
      obtained and input all Financial Status Reports (SF-269s) not previously
       entered into RSA’s MIS for all formula grant programs;
      reviewed reports and approved completed reports for FYs 2004 – 2007;
      discussed with staff the advantages of maintaining a small carryover
       balance each fiscal year, however, no cash flow problems were noted;
      reviewed contractual arrangements (although payment terms were
       complicated and not easy to understand, controls were built into financial
       system to ensure that vendor payments are correct); and
      reviewed FY 2006 expenditures (including unliquidated obligations) for
       Supported Employment (all funds were expended for job
       placement/coaching and situational assessments).

Promising VR and SE Practices Identified by DRS and Stakeholders During the
Review Process

The following promising practice was identified:

1. Internal Financial Reports

Financial staff prepare monthly grant award reports for all programs for each
fiscal year for which final Financial Status Reports have not been submitted.
Information provided includes the grant budget, source of funds (including 3rd
party match), status of grant expenditures, grant period, outstanding obligations,
final date for obligating all grant funds (federal and state), and compliance with
applicable program match and MOE requirements. Separate reports, including
the amount of projected income are prepared to track the receipt, expenditure,
obligation and unobligated balance of program income for all open fiscal years.
This report provides management with comprehensive financial information for
each formula grant program.

Fiscal Recommendation: Language in cooperative arrangements should be
strengthened to clearly state that the services provided under these arrangements
are not a responsibility of the cooperating agency and that only VR consumers, or
those eligible for services, can be served under the cooperative arrangement.




                                        24
        Chapter 4: Vocational Rehabilitation and Supported
                  Employment Programs: SBVI
Table 1 provides fiscal and program data for fiscal years 2002 through 2006.
These data provide an overview of the VR program’s costs, outcomes, and
efficiency. The table identifies the amount of funds used by the agency, the
number of individuals who applied, and the number who received services. It
also provides information about the quality of the agency’s employment outcomes
and its transition services.

                     Table 7. SBVI Program Highlights, 2002 - 2006

SOUTH DAKOTA – Blind           2002         2003         2004         2005         2006

Total funds used          $2,101,030   $2,241,074   $2,255,037   $2,434,228   $2,490,257
Individuals served              216          254          267          356          353
during year
Applicants                      163          189          202          206          193
Closed after receiving           94           83          102          121          129
services
Closed with                      74           65           76           87           96
employment outcomes
Employment outcomes              47           53           60           61           71
w/o supports in an
integrated setting
Average cost per           $9,726.99    $8,823.13    $8,445.83    $6,837.72    $7,054.55
individual served
Average cost per          $28,392.30   $34,478.06   $29,671.54   $27,979.63   $25,940.18
employment outcome
Employment outcomes           35.22        29.00        33.70        35.74        38.55
per $million spent
Competitive                   32.84        27.22        31.93        34.10        35.74
employment outcomes
per $million spent
Average hourly               $10.27       $10.34       $10.08        $9.77        $9.82
earnings for paid
employment outcomes
Average state hourly         $12.67       $13.08       $13.46       $13.96       $14.40
earnings
Average hours worked          32.48        34.48        34.17        33.92        33.00
per week for paid
employment outcomes
Percent of transition         11.70        10.84        11.76          9.09       12.40
age served to total
served
Employment rate for           81.82        33.33        50.00        36.36        43.75




                                            25
SOUTH DAKOTA – Blind        2002        2003        2004         2005         2006

transition age served

Average time between       21.60       15.90        18.90       20.00        20.40
application and closure
(in months) for
individuals with
successful paid
employment outcomes
Average number of           8.64       10.58        11.13       16.18        16.05
individuals served per
total staff


Provision of Technical Assistance to the SBVI VR and SE Programs During the
Review Process

RSA provided TA to SBVI in a number of VR and SE program areas during the
review process. RSA:

          verified the agency’s RSA 911 case record data for FY 2004, FY 2005,
           and FY 2006;
          provided feedback to the agency on its case management system;
          provided training on how to use RSA’s Management Information
           System;
          provided TA on the comprehensive statewide needs assessment; and
          provided TA assistance on data analysis.

Promising VR and SE Practices Identified by SBVI and Stakeholders During the
Review Process

RSA’s review process solicited input from SBVI and stakeholders about
promising practices. The following promising practices were identified:

1. Management Information System: VR FACES--Fully Automated Computer
Enhanced System

SBVI’s management information system is tailored to meet staff needs and is
user-friendly for administrative and case management functions. FACES
generates authorizations for the payment of VR services and case management
reports, has built-in security mechanisms to safeguard against misuse or abuse of
the system as well as built-in edits to ensure that data inputted are reasonable,
includes alerts keyed to rehabilitation timelines, and houses the VR counselor
manual, forms, resources and templates for letters. Through its electronic case
management functions, FACES enables VR counselors to complete rehabilitation
process forms including case notes. Altogether, the features contained in FACES
enable SBVI staff and management to carry out administrative functions more
efficiently and contribute to meeting critical timelines and monitoring compliance
with state and federal requirements.


                                        26
2. Quality Assurance (QA)--Service Record Review

As part of its QA activities, SBVI conducts an annual service record review to
assess compliance with VR program requirements. SBVI management and
counselors from across the state participate in the review of active and closed
records. SBVI utilizes a service record review instrument for this process that is
consistent with federal requirements. The process includes the identification of
promising practices that are shared with all counselors as well as areas that are
addressed in one-on-one and agency-wide training sessions. The identification of
problem areas serves to alert SBVI management of the need to provide additional
policy guidance. SBVI’s service record review enhances accountability,
promotes consistency among staff with respect to the implementation of state and
federal requirements, and is aligned with the identification and sharing of
promising practices, staff training, and policy revision.

3. Leveraging Resources and Maximizing Access to Services for Transition
Youths Through Statewide Partnerships

Through a partnership between SBVI, DRS and the state Department of
Education, SD established the Transition Services Liaison Project (TSLP),
designed to expand employment opportunities for transition youths with
disabilities. On behalf of the partnership, BHSSC, established as a service
cooperative in state government, administers and coordinates TSLP services and
programs described below.

      Project Skills – This program provides paid work experiences for high
       school students with disabilities. DRS and SBVI provide funding for
       wages, Federal Insurance Contribution Act, worker’s compensation, and
       other costs needed for employment, such as uniforms and other work-
       related supplies. The local school district provides job development, job
       coaching, and on-the-job monitoring.
      Catch the Wave – This program provides postsecondary orientation.
       Catch the Wave is a one-day conference designed for students with
       disabilities who may be considering postsecondary education. Students
       have an opportunity to learn about preparing for college, including
       securing necessary accommodations and developing self-advocacy and
       communication skills. The conference features opportunities to dialogue
       with other students with disabilities with postsecondary experiences.
      Youth Leadership Forum – This program provides career and leadership
       training for high school juniors and seniors. Through a statewide
       competition, student delegates with leadership potential are chosen to
       participate in this annual five-day event conducted on the campus of the
       University of SD Sioux Falls. During the forum they participate in
       activities designed to enhance leadership, citizenship, and social skills.
      Transition Tacklebox – This program provides web-based resources for
       students with disabilities, their families, special education agencies, and


                                        27
          VR counselors. The Tacklebox includes a variety of information resources
          designed to assist students with disabilities in making decisions about
          postsecondary training and community-based living.

In those school districts that do not participate in the cooperative arrangement,
SBVI partners with the SD School for the Blind to provide transition services to
youths who are blind and visually impaired. These partnerships demonstrate how
state departments and agencies leverage resources for the benefit of transition
youths with disabilities.

VR and SE Issues Identified by SBVI and Stakeholders During the Review
Process

RSA’s review process solicited input from SBVI and stakeholders about VR and
SE performance and compliance issues. The following issues were identified:

          the need to increase the number of transition youths served and the
           employment outcomes for this population;
          the need to improve the quality of employment outcomes for individuals
           served by SBVI;
          the low number of individuals receiving postsecondary education
           services and the need to maximize access to this service in an effort to
           improve employment outcomes and increase wages; and
          the need to promote access to employment opportunities in SBVI
           management positions for individuals who are blind and visually
           impaired.3

Following compilation and discussion with SBVI about the issues, RSA worked
with SBVI to address as many of these issues as possible either directly or by
consolidating the issue into a broader issue area.

VR and SE Performance Issues, Goals, Strategies, and Technical Assistance

RSA and SBVI agreed on the following performance goals, strategies to achieve
those goals, and the technical assistance that RSA would provide to assist SBVI
achieve each goal. These goals and strategies are aligned with goals in the
FY 2008 state plan. They may be considered for inclusion in SBVI’s FY 2009
state plan, and, if they are included, progress on achieving these goals will be
reported in SBVI’s FY 2010 annual state plan submission.




3
 This personnel issue was addressed by SBVI and the SRC during the development of the 2008
State Plan. Attachment 4.2(c) summarizes the division director’s response that as administrative
positions become available in SBVI, the positions will be opened and advertised to promote
employment opportunities for qualified individuals who are blind.


                                               28
1. Increasing Employment Outcomes for Transition Youths

Issue: Trend data for individuals exiting the SBVI program from FY 2002
through FY 2006 indicate that transition age youths (14 – 24 years at application)
made up about 9 to 12 percent of all individuals who exited the VR program after
receiving services from SBVI (see Table 7). RSA and SBVI discussed whether
SBVI identifies all eligible youths. Because the previous comprehensive
statewide assessment did not provide sufficient information on this population,
SBVI is beginning to implement new assessment procedures to inform their
outreach efforts.

SBVI’s employment rate for transition age youths was 82 percent in FY 2002,
dropped to 33 percent in FY 2003, and has not risen above 50 percent since that
time (see Table 7). Reasons for the sudden shift in the employment rate from FY
2002 to FY 2003 are not known. The employment rate for transition age youths
varies more from year to year than SBVI’s overall employment rate which has
remained between 72 and 79 percent during the same time period. One reason for
the fluctuations in the data for the transition age group may be the small number
of transition age youths who are served by SBVI. A change in the outcomes of
one or two individuals can result in significant changes in the employment rate.
Table 8 compares the employment rate for transition age youth served by SBVI
with the employment rate for all individuals served by SBVI from FY 2002
through FY 2006.

                                 Table 8
               Employment Rates for SBVI: FY 2002 – FY 2006

                          FY 2002      FY 2003    FY 2004     FY 2005    FY 2006
Employment rate
All individuals                79%       78%        75%         72%         74%
Transition age                 82%       33%        50%         36%         44%

During FY 2006, a total of 172 individuals exited the SBVI VR program. Of the
172 individuals, 129 individuals (75 percent) received services before exiting the
VR program and 96 individuals (56 percent) exited with an employment outcome.
The 172 individuals included 20 transition age youths. Sixteen of the 20
transition age youths (80 percent) received VR services before exiting the VR
program and seven of the 20 (35 percent) exited with an employment outcome.
(See Table 9)

                                       Table 9
                               Exit Patterns – FY 2006

                                         Transition Age         All Individuals
Total exiting the VR program               20        100%          172       100%
Exit at application                         1          5%           21        12%



                                         29
Exit after eligibility/ before plan           3         15%           19          11%
Exit after plan/ before services              0          0%            3           2%
Exit after services w employment              7         35%           96          56%
Exit after services w/o employment            9         45%           33          19%

The FY 2006 exit patterns suggest that the transition group may be accessing VR
services via the various transition activities that SBVI is involved in, but leaving
after VR services are initiated and before achieving an employment outcome.
SBVI needs more information about the impact of the transition activities on
youths who are blind or visually impaired and their reasons for leaving the VR
program.

Goal 1: SBVI will increase the rehabilitation rate for transition youths by one
percent per year over the next three years.

Strategies:

    1. Identify students with disabilities in SD that can benefit from VR services
       provided by SBVI.
    2. Track the impact on outcomes based on the participation in Project Skills,
       Youth Leadership Forum, SBVI Summer Transition Program, and other
       transition programs.
    3. Revise activities in the programs above, as needed, to improve successful
       outcomes.
    4. Track and analyze transition youths served who did not achieve
       employment outcomes.
    5. Maximize access to post-secondary training for transition youths.

Method of Evaluation: SBVI will be successful if the rehabilitation rate for
transition youths increases by one percent in FY 2008; increases by one percent in
FY 2009 compared with FY 2008; increases by one percent in FY 2010 compared
with FY 2009.

Technical Assistance: RSA will provide TA resources in the area of data analysis
to enable SBVI to continue to evaluate the impact of factors that influence the
rehabilitation rate for transition youths.

2. Improve the Quality of Employment Outcomes

Issue: The average hourly earnings for all individuals achieving a paid
employment outcome from SBVI were above $10 in FY 2002 through FY 2004,
then dropped below $10 in FY 2005 and 2006. During that same period, the SD
average hourly wage rose from $12.76 to $14.40 (see Table 7). A wage analysis
for the 96 individuals who achieved an employment outcome from SBVI in
FY 2006 (see Table 15 in the Appendix) shows that 70 of these individuals (73
percent) earned less than $14.40 per hour and that 63 individuals (66 percent)
earned between the federal minimum wage ($5.15) and $10 per hour.


                                         30
Performance Indicator 1.5 for the VR program indicates the average hourly wage
earned by those with employment outcomes from SBVI who earned at least
minimum wage as a ratio to the state average hourly wage earned by all workers
with earnings in SD. The minimum performance level is 0.59 for agencies
serving individuals who are blind and visually impaired. SBVI exceed the
performance level for this indicator, but its performance has been generally
declining from 0.83 in FY 2002 to 0.71 in FY 2006.

Increases in average hourly wages can result from employment in higher paying
occupations, often as a result of the provision of postsecondary education
services. Of the 96 individuals with employment outcomes in FY 2006, nine
individuals (9 percent) received postsecondary education services. The 96
individuals with an employment outcome also included 45 individuals (47
percent) who were working at application. If these individuals return to the same
employment following their participation in the VR program, their wages may not
increase substantially. Twenty-nine of the 45 individuals working at application
(64 percent) were earning between $5.15 and $10 per hour when they left the
SBVI program (see Table 15 in the Appendix).

Of the 96 individuals who achieved an employment outcome from SBVI in
FY 2006:

          5 achieved the outcomes of homemaker or unpaid family worker;
          7 achieved self-employment;
          13 achieved employment with supports; and
          71 achieved employment without supports.

FY 2006 hour and wage data reported for the 84 individuals who achieved
employment with and without supports were analyzed to learn more about the
impact of age, receipt of SSI/SSDI at exit from the VR program, and type of
employment outcome on average hourly wages (see Table 10). The analysis
indicated the following:

          individuals receiving SSI/SSDI at exit averaged $7.80 per hour,
           regardless of age or type of employment outcome;
          individuals not receiving SSISSDI at exit averaged between $10.90
           and $11.60 per hour, regardless of age or type of employment
           outcome;
          the highest average hourly wage ($11.60) was earned by those who
           were 25 years or older, not receiving SSI/SSDI at exit, and employed
           with supports; and
          the average hourly wage for all individuals employed without supports
           was $9.40 compared to $9.70 for all individuals employed with
           supports.




                                       31
                                    Table 10
              Selected Factors and Average Hourly Wages – FY 2006

 SSI/SSDI       Age Group at Application        Total          Average Hourly Wage
  at Exit                                      Number
                                                          Employed      Employed
                                                          w/o supports with supports
    Yes       Transition age (14 - 24 years)          3           $7.90           ----
    Yes       All other (25 years and older)         20           $7.70         $7.80
Subtotal /Average for all SSI/SSDI                   23           $7.80         $7.80
    No        Transition age (14 - 24 years)          4          $11.40           ----
    No        All other (25 years and older)         57          $10.40        $11.60
Subtotal/ Average for all non SSI/SSDI               61          $10.90        $11.60
Total / Average for all                              84           $9.40         $9.70

The increases in the federal minimum wage in 2007, 2008 and 2009 and the
resulting increases in South Dakota minimum wage ensures that hourly wages
will increase. The expectation is that an increase in hourly wages will result in an
increase in overall wages. However, if the increased minimum wage results in a
decrease in hours worked by individuals, overall wages may not increase. Wage
analysis data across a wide range of hourly wages for individuals achieving
employment outcomes from SBVI indicates that, in general, individuals work an
average of 32 to 40 hours per week, regardless of the hourly wage (see Table 15
in the Appendix). During implementation of the wage increases, it will be
important to determine the effect of the hourly wage increases on hours worked to
determine if overall wages are increasing for individuals served by SBVI.

Goal 2: SBVI will narrow the gap between the average hourly earnings for SBVI
participants and the average hourly wage for SD.

Strategies:

   1. Increase incentives to job placement providers to place VR participants in
      employment that is above the SGA level.
   2. Maximize access to postsecondary education.
   3. Track hour and wage data for SBVI participants to determine the impact
      of increased minimum wages on overall wages.
   4. Increase the awareness of and access to medical benefits through the
      Medical Assistance to Workers with Disabilities Program for individuals
      who are blind.

Method of Evaluation: SBVI will be successful in improving the quality of
employment outcomes if the wages for individuals with disabilities increase.




                                          32
Technical Assistance: RSA will provide TA resources to SBVI in the area of data
analysis to enable SBVI to continue to evaluate the factors contributing to overall
low wages.

3. Quality Assurance (QA)

Issue: With a total staff of 22, SBVI does not assign staff solely to the QA
function. Instead, staff assume multiple responsibilities, with the assistant
director having primary responsibility for coordinating QA activities.

The most prominent of SBVI’s QA activities is the service record review,
described above in the promising practices section of this chapter. Although the
service record review and its associated activities provide a comprehensive
approach to many aspects of QA, there are no written procedures.

Another activity that is considered to be part of SBVI’s QA is the assessment of
consumer satisfaction with VR services provided by the agency and other aspects
of the rehabilitation program. The director indicated that SBVI utilizes the results
of the surveys as one source of information in the development of goals and
strategies for the State Plan. SBVI also assesses the satisfaction of consumers
who utilize the services of its rehabilitation center for the blind in Sioux Falls.
However, the center manager maintains the results of these surveys separately and
does not provide reports to the SBVI director. SBVI’s QA activities are not fully
integrated for purposes of making program improvements.

Goal 3: SBVI will develop and implement a QA system to support SBVI in
making program improvements in a consistent and measurable approach.

Strategies:

   1. Develop an SBVI QA guide that outlines methods, procedures, and
      results.
   2. Partner with other VR agencies for individuals who are blind to identify
      best practices for quality improvement activities.
   3. Partner with DRS for QA activities to benefit consumers of both DSUs to
      ensure the efficient use of resources.

Method of Evaluation: SBVI will be successful if it develops and implements a
QA system that integrates QA activities for purposes of making program
improvements

Technical Assistance:

      RSA will provide TA resources to assist SBVI to formalize its QA
       processes and timelines; develop a QA guide that outlines methods and
       procedures; identify model QA tools and plans; and identify promising



                                         33
    practices from other similarly situated VR agencies for individuals who
    are blind.
   RSA will also provide TA resources on promising models for assessing
    consumer satisfaction.




                                    34
                        Chapter 5: Fiscal Review of SBVI

RSA reviewed SBVI’s fiscal management of the VR program. During the review
process RSA provided technical assistance to the state agency to improve its fiscal
management and identified areas for improvement. RSA reviewed the general
effectiveness of the agency’s cost and financial controls, internal processes for the
expenditure of funds, use of appropriate accounting practices, and financial
management systems.

The data in the following table, taken from fiscal reports submitted by the state
agencies, speak to the overall fiscal performance of the agency. The data related
to matching requirements are taken from the fourth quarter of the respective fiscal
year’s SF-269 report. The maintenance of effort (MOE) requirement data are
taken from the final SF-269 report of the fiscal year (two years prior to the fiscal
year to which it is compared). Fiscal data related to administration, total
expenditures, and administrative cost percentage are taken from the RSA-2.

                                       Table 11
                  Fiscal Data for SBVI for FY 2002 through FY 2006

                                             South Dakota (B)
 Fiscal Year                                     2002          2003        2004        2005         2006

 Grant Amount                                   1,636,923     1,694,698   1,730,150   1,735,897    1,803,507

 Required Match                                  443,030       458,667     468,262     469,817      488,116

 Federal Expenditures                           1,548,957     1,525,929   1,517,683   1,735,897    1,335,394

 Actual Match                                    500,053       526,689     487,948     528,336      611,756

 Over (Under) Match                                  57,023     68,022      19,686      58,519      123,640

 Carryover                                           87,966    168,769     212,467             0    468,113

 Program Income                                      49,401     69,353     135,079      28,003       41,324

 Maintenance of Effort (MOE)                     483,792       506,807     483,951     507,026      484,173



 Administrative Costs                            334,237       285,774     285,344     312,716      303,026

 Total Expenditures                             2,101,030     2,241,074   2,255,037   2,434,228    2,490,257

 Percent Admin Costs to Total Expenditures      15.91%        12.75%      12.65%      12.85%       12.17%


Explanations Applicable to the Fiscal Profile Table

Grant Amount: The amounts shown represent the final award for each fiscal year,
and reflect any adjustments for MOE penalties, reductions for grant funds


                                                35
voluntarily relinquished through the reallotment process, or additional grant funds
received through the reallotment process.

Match (Non-Federal Expenditures): The non-federal share of expenditures in the
Basic Support Program, other than for the construction of a facility related to a
community rehabilitation program, was established in the 1992 amendments to
the Rehabilitation Act at 21.3 percent. As such, a minimum of 21.3 percent of the
total allowable program costs charged to each year’s grant must come from non-
Federal expenditures from allowable sources as defined in program and
administrative regulations governing the VR program. (34 CFR 361.60(a) and (b);
34 CFR 80.24)

In reviewing compliance with this requirement, RSA examined the
appropriateness of the sources of funds used as match in the VR Program, the
amount of funds used as match from appropriate sources, and the projected
amount of state appropriated funds available for match in each federal fiscal year.
The accuracy of expenditure information previously reported in financial and
program reports submitted to RSA was also reviewed.

Carryover: Federal funds appropriated for a fiscal year remain available for
obligation in the succeeding fiscal year only to the extent that the VR agency met
the matching requirement for those federal funds by September 30 of the year of
appropriation. (34 CFR 361.64(b)) Either expending or obligating the non-
federal share of program expenditures by this deadline may meet this carryover
requirement.

In reviewing compliance with the carryover requirement, RSA examined
documentation supporting expenditure and unliquidated obligation information
previously reported to RSA to substantiate the extent to which the state was
entitled to use any federal funds remaining at the end of the fiscal year for which
the funds were appropriated.

Program Income: Program income means gross income received by the state that
is directly generated by an activity supported under a federal grant program.
Sources of state VR program income include, but are not limited to, payments
from the Social Security Administration for rehabilitating Social Security
beneficiaries, payments received from workers’ compensation funds, fees for
services to defray part or all of the costs of services provided to particular
individuals, and income generated by a state-operated community rehabilitation
program. Program income earned (received) in one fiscal year can be carried over
and obligated in the following fiscal year regardless of whether the agency carries
over federal grant funds. Grantees may also transfer program income received
from the Social Security Administration for rehabilitating Social Security
beneficiaries to other formula programs funded under the Act to expand services
under these programs.




                                         36
In reviewing program income, RSA analyzed the total amount (as compared to
the total percentage of income earned by all VR agencies and comparable/like VR
agencies), sources, and use of generated income.

Maintenance of Effort (MOE): The 1992 amendments revised the requirements
in section 111(a)(2)(B)(ii) of the Act with respect to maintenance of effort
provisions. Effective federal FY 1993 and each federal fiscal year thereafter, the
maintenance of effort level is based on state expenditures under the title I State
plan from non-federal sources for the federal fiscal year two years earlier. States
must meet this prior year expenditure level to avoid monetary sanctions outlined
in 34 CFR 361.62(a)(1). The match and maintenance of effort requirements are
two separate requirements. Each must be met by the state.

In reviewing compliance with this requirement, RSA examined documentation
supporting fiscal year-end and final non-federal expenditures previously reported
for each grant year.

Administrative Costs: Administrative costs means expenditures incurred in the
performance of administrative functions including expenses related to program
planning, development, monitoring and evaluation. More detail related to
expenditures that should be classified as administrative costs is found in VR
Program regulations at 34 CFR 361.5(b)(2).

Provision of Technical Assistance to the VR and SE Programs During the Review
Process

RSA provided technical assistance in a number of fiscal areas during the review
process. RSA:

      provided a synopsis of each requirement and shared its assessment of the
       agency’s compliance with specific financial requirements – MOE,
       carryover, reallotment, program income, liquidation of outstanding
       obligations and grant closeout;
      reviewed allowability of sources of matching funds and availability of
       sufficient match to closeout FY 2007 and sources projected for FY 2008;
      discussed challenges faced in ensuring that adequate funds are available
       each fiscal year to meet VR Program match and MOE requirements;
      reviewed year-end outstanding obligations and the subsequent liquidation
       in the succeeding fiscal year;
      reviewed FY 2006 expenditures for Supported Employment and
       liquidation outstanding obligations from FY 2005;
      reviewed total agency funding from all sources and approved cost
       allocation bases to distribute costs to applicable programs;
      obtained and input all Financial Status Reports (SF-269s) not previously
       entered into RSA’s Management Information System (MIS) for all
       formula grant programs;


                                         37
      reviewed reports and approved completed reports for FYs 2004 – 2007;
      completed RSA’s internal Sources of Match report for FYs 2005 and
       2006; and
      reminded fiscal staff of the requirement to report the cumulative total of
       VR Program funds expended for in-service training activities in Block 12,
       “Remarks,” of Financial Status Reports submitted to RSA.

Promising VR and SE Practices Identified by SBVI and Stakeholders During the
Review Process

1. Internal Financial Reports

Financial staff prepare monthly grant award reports for all programs for each
fiscal year for which final Financial Status Reports have not been submitted.
Information provided includes the grant budget, source of funds (including 3rd
party match), status of grant expenditures, grant period, outstanding obligations,
final date for obligating all grant funds (federal and state), and compliance with
applicable program match and MOE requirements. Separate reports, including
the amount of projected income are prepared to track the receipt, expenditure,
obligation and unobligated balance of program income for all open fiscal years.
This report provides management with comprehensive financial information for
each formula grant program.




                                        38
                         Chapter 6: IL Program
Program Organization

DRS, SBVI, and the SD SILC jointly administer the IL program under Chapter 1,
Part B. Through a purchase of service agreement between the SD CCD and DRS,
CCD carries out administrative responsibilities on behalf of the SILC.

                               Table 12
               Sources and Amounts of IL Funding (FY 2006)

                               Sources            Amounts

                 Part B Funds                           302,264
                 Older Blind                            225,000
                 Other Federal Funds                    372,708
                 State Funds                            244,735
                 Local Government                             0
                 Private/Other Funds                          0
                 Total                                1,144,707


Provision of Technical Assistance to the IL Program During the Review Process

RSA provided technical assistance to DRS and the SILC on the following IL
program areas during the review process:

        how to develop measurable monitoring goals for the state’s IL program;
        the allowable use of Part B funds related to SILC activities, especially
         activities related to carrying out the SILC’s statutory duties; and
        SILC roles and responsibilities.

Promising IL Practices Identified by the SD IL Staff and Stakeholders During the
Review Process

RSA’s review process solicited input from SD IL staff and stakeholders about
promising practices. The following promising practices were identified:

1. SILC Administrative Support

SD has an effective mechanism in place for carrying out the administrative
responsibilities of the SILC. A purchase of service agreement between DRS and
the SD CCD provides a part-time executive secretary and administrative assistant
to carry out the day-to-day responsibilities of the SILC at the direction of the


                                         39
SILC. These responsibilities include coordinating arrangements for SILC
meetings, reimbursing members for expenses, handling correspondence and
reports, coordinating IL training, and assisting in the development and submission
of the 704 annual performance report and the SPIL. This mechanism ensures the
autonomy of the SILC and provides timely reimbursement to SILC members for
expenses incurred participating in SILC activities.

2. Collaborative IL Service Delivery Model

DRS, the SILC, the CILs, and other service providers, including Dakota Link and
the Assistive Technology Devices program, work collaboratively together to
develop specialized IL programs to benefit individuals with significant disabilities
in overcoming barriers that would otherwise substantially limit their ability to
function independently in family and community activities.

One of the most prominent programs is the Home Modification and Adaptive
Devices (HMAD) program that provides adaptive devices such as portable ramps
and assistive technology devices. CILs have primary responsibility for service
delivery of this program utilizing Part B funds provided by DRS and the SILC.
An important aspect of this program is its successful reliance on community
partnerships and volunteers to leverage resources. For example, components of
ramps are built by prison inmates, transported to consumers’ homes by off-duty
National Guard members, and assembled by volunteers. Another positive aspect
of the program is the recycling component that allows equipment to be transferred
from one individual to another as individuals’ needs change.

This model for the delivery of IL services demonstrates how the SD IL
stakeholders, together with community partners and volunteers work together to
maximize resources and increase the independence of individuals with significant
disabilities throughout the state.

IL Issues Identified by SD IL Staff and Stakeholders During the Review Process

RSA’s review process solicited input from IL staff and stakeholders about IL
performance and compliance issues. The following issues were identified:

        the increasing demand for IL services with limited resources;
        improving alignment of the four core IL services with those services
         provided under the HMAD and Assistive Technology Devices
         programs;
        developing a statewide uniform data reporting system for the CILs; and
        strengthening the SILC with respect to fulfilling its mandated roles and
         responsibilities.




                                        40
Following compilation of this list, RSA worked with IL staff and stakeholders to
address as many of these issues as possible either directly or by consolidating the
issue into a broader issue area.

IL Performance Issues, Goals, Strategies, and Technical Assistance

As a result of the review, RSA and SD IL staff and stakeholders agreed on the
following performance goals, strategies to achieve those goals, and technical
assistance that RSA would provide to assist them to achieve each goal. These
goals and strategies are aligned with goals in SD’s FY 2008 SPIL.

1. Provision of IL Services to Unserved and Underserved Populations

Issue: During teleconferences and the on-site visit, CILs and stakeholders
indicated that while IL services are made available to all individuals with
significant disabilities in all geographic areas of the state, specific populations
remain underserved, including war veterans with disabilities, older individuals
who are blind, youths with disabilities, and Native Americans residing on the
reservations.

IL resources in this predominately rural and frontier state have not increased
proportionately to the growing IL service needs among these populations. The
CILs indicated this is particularly true in the case of the HMAD program.
Therefore, the SILC and CILs continue to focus on expanding outreach activities
and resource development to provide IL services to persons with significant
disabilities in the state, including special populations.

Goal 1a: CILs will maintain and/or increase the current level of IL services
provided to persons with significant disabilities in SD.

Goal 1b: CILs will expand access to IL services to unserved and underserved
populations, including war veterans, older individuals who are blind, Native
Americans residing on reservations, and youths with disabilities.

Strategies:

   1. CILs will improve access to assistive technology services and
      telecommunications devices through Dakota Link and ATP.
   2. CILs providers will develop and implement outreach strategies to
      unserved and underserved populations in South Dakota.
   3. CILs will continue to leverage resources through collaboration,
      cooperation, and coordination with other state agencies, community
      entities and organizations that serve persons with disabilities.
   4. CILs will continue to expand resource development initiatives.
   5. SILC and CILs will increase community awareness and knowledge of
      disability through activities such as workshops and other public functions.



                                          41
   6. SILC, DSUs and CILs will provide ongoing training to IL staff, including
      training on meeting the diverse service needs of minority and disability
      populations.
   7. CILs will expand systems advocacy activities to mobilize consumers to
      educate legislators and other lawmakers about the IL service priorities and
      funding needs in the state.

Method of Evaluation:

      CILs will be successful if they maintain and/or increase the level of IL
       services provided compared with the previous year (704 Part I and II
       annual performance reports; 7OB annual report).
      CILs will be successful if they increase the numbers of individuals served
       from unserved and underserved populations, including war veterans with
       disabilities, older individuals who are blind, Native Americans, and youths
       with disabilities (704 Part I and II annual performance reports; 7OB
       annual report).

RSA Technical Assistance:

      RSA will provide opportunities for SD IL stakeholders to exchange
       information and practices with other states in the areas of outreach
       strategies for underserved populations and resource development
       activities.
      RSA will also coordinate the provision of additional TA resources in these
       areas with the Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living
       (APRIL) and other appropriate resources.

2. Improve Accountability and Consistency in Reporting IL Services

Issue: CILs identified that one of their primary challenges is balancing staff
resources to provide the required IL core services while also providing services
under the HMAD program. Since the CILs have a separate funding source for the
HMAD program, they track this source separately for purposes of fiscal reporting,
and, likewise, have viewed providing services under this program as separate
from providing the IL core services. They had not considered delivering the
services under the HMAD program within the framework of the IL core services,
e.g., instructing consumers in how to coordinate the volunteer effort to assemble
their ramp can be defined as IL skills training.

CILs also indicated there is no consensus among them regarding the definitions of
the IL core services, and, therefore, no consistency in reporting IL core services in
their 704 annual performance report. Without reliable data, the SILC and CILs
cannot make sound decisions regarding program management and IL resource
allocation. In addition, CILs do not have accurate data to support their resource
development initiatives. Developing a uniform reporting system that includes


                                         42
common definitions for IL core services and merges those services provided
under the HMAD program with the IL core services will aid in resolving the
challenge of balancing service delivery among all services and programs as well
as strengthen accountability.

Goal 2: SILC, DSUs and CILs will improve IL program accountability through
the development and implementation of a statewide uniform reporting system for
the collection of IL data.

Strategies:

   1. SILC and DSU will collaborate with CILs to assess computer capability,
      staff expertise, and reporting requirements.
   2. SILC, DSUs, and CILs will identify resources (funding) to support the
      development of the data system.
   3. SILC, DSUs, and CILs will develop uniform definitions for IL services.
   4. SILC, DSUs, and CILs will identify technical expertise to identify and/or
      develop a data management system that accommodates the reporting
      needs of the CILs.
   5. SILC, DSUs, and CILs will develop and implement a plan to train staff on
      how to use the new reporting system, including how to record IL services.

Method of Evaluation: The SILC, DSUs and CILs will be successful if they
develop and implement a uniform reporting system for the collection of IL data.

Technical Assistance:

      RSA will provide resources on other states that have developed uniform
       definitions for IL services and provide TA resources from the IL Training
       and Technical Assistance grant and other sources to assist them in
       developing uniform definitions.
      RSA will also provide resources related to IL information management
       systems.

3. SILC Training on Roles and Responsibilities

Issue: The SILC indicated that it has not participated in formal training regarding
its mandated roles and responsibilities under section 34 CFR 364.21(g). With the
limited IL resources available in SD, the SILC and DSUs are faced with the
ongoing challenge of responding to the competing needs of providing IL services
to consumers and providing the necessary training related to the SILC’s duties.
The SILC and DSUs direct the majority of Part B funds to CILs for the provision
of IL services. The remaining Part B funds, together with funds under the Title I
innovation and expansion authority, are used to fund the SILC’s resource plan
that includes resources for SILC training.




                                        43
Goal 3: SILC and DSUs will increase the SILC’s knowledge and understanding
of its required statutory roles and responsibilities.

Strategies:

   1. RSA will provide training and TA resources to SILC members to increase
      their knowledge of SILC roles and responsibilities.
   2. SILC and DSUs will identify sufficient resources in the SILC resource
      plan to allow for the necessary training and TA of SILC members and
      staff to fulfill their roles and responsibilities.

Method of Evaluation: The SILC will be successful if it fulfills its mandated roles
and responsibilities consistent with the requirements in Title VII.

Technical Assistance: RSA will coordinate TA resources through the IL Training
and TA grant and other sources to train the SILC on roles and responsibilities and
promote the exchange of promising operational practices through teleconferences
with SILCs in other states.




                                        44
                        Chapter 7: OIB Program

Provision of Technical Assistance to the OIB Program During the Review Process

RSA provided technical assistance to SBVI on the following OIB program areas
during the review process:

        suggesting new methods and approaches for the OIB program that could
         be included in the SPIL;
        increasing peer-to-peer mentoring through better coordination and
         collaboration with CILs; and
        leveraging resources by working more closely with the CILs to provide
         basic IL skills training to OIB consumers.

Promising OIB Practices Identified by SBVI and Stakeholders During the Review
Process

RSA’s review process solicited input from SBVI and stakeholders about
promising practices. The following promising practice was identified:

1. Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) Lease/Loan Program

The CCTV program, administered by SBVI in partnership with Dakota Link,
makes CCTVs available to current and former consumers of the OIB program
who cannot otherwise afford them due to limited financial resources. This device
is a camera and monitor system that magnifies script or pictures up to sixty times
its size. SBVI implemented the program in 2004 with donations, primarily from
memorials, and since that time has distributed approximately 150 CCTVs.
Consumers indicate that it has opened up a new communication avenue and
greatly expanded their access to information, especially for those located in
remote areas of the state. CCTVs allow consumers to perform routine tasks in
their homes they could not otherwise do, including viewing bank statements and
other mail, reading labels on medical prescriptions, and signing their names on
important documents. In addition, CCTVs provide consumers a means to stay in
touch with their families and friends by allowing them to read letters and see
photographs. Altogether, this program allows consumers to remain more
independent in their homes.

OIB Issues Identified by SBVI and Stakeholders During the Review Process

RSA’s review process solicited input from SBVI and stakeholders about OIB
performance and compliance issues. The following issues were identified:




                                        45
        improving OIB service delivery methods for older individuals residing
         in rural communities;
        increasing the number of individuals served and increasing the number
         of successful outcomes with limited resources in light of the fast
         growing senior population in the state; and
        increasing the awareness of issues affecting older individuals who are
         blind or visually impaired within the various state and local programs
         that provide specialized services to this population.

Following compilation of this list, RSA worked with SBVI to address as many of
these issues as possible either directly or by consolidating the issue into a broader
issue area.

OIB Performance Issues, Goals, Strategies, and Technical Assistance

As a result of the review, RSA and SBVI agreed on the following OIB
performance goals, strategies to achieve those goals, and technical assistance that
RSA would provide to assist SBVI to achieve each goal.

1. Serving the Growing Population of Older Individuals Who Are Blind

Issue: There is an increasing population in SD of older individuals who are blind,
many of who reside in remote areas of the state without access to transportation.
Approximately one third of the individuals served in the OIB program are over
the age of 80. In addition, many of these individuals have multiple disabilities
that may require coordination with other service agencies and organizations.
These contribute to remaining in the OIB program longer, and requiring
additional time and attention on the part of SBVI staff. Stakeholders indicated
there are insufficient resources within the OIB program to meet the service needs.
In order to better serve this growing population, stakeholders indicated the need to
leverage resources with other IL service providers, namely CILs, to meet the
service needs of this population, especially in the area of peer support services
that are so important to this population. CILs may need additional training in
preparation to respond to the needs of this population.

Goal 1: SBVI will increase the number of older blind individuals served
compared with the previous year (7OB report).

Strategies:

   1. The OIB program will leverage resources through increased collaboration,
      cooperation, and coordination with CILs.
   2. CILs will provide peer support to older blind individuals.
   3. The OIB staff will provide training to CIL staff to prepare them to work
      with older individuals who are blind or visually impaired.




                                         46
Method of Evaluation: The OIB program will be successful if it increases the
number of older individuals served compared with the number in the previous
year (7OB report).

Technical Assistance: RSA will coordinate TA resources with the SD OIB
program from the Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Blindness and
Low Vision at Mississippi State University, APRIL, the IL training and technical
grant, and other sources as appropriate.




                                       47
                  Chapter 8: Summary Conclusion
              DRS Strengths, Challenges and Performance
Strengths

      emphasis on serving individuals with the most significant disabilities,
       particularly individuals in supported employment;
      productive working relationship with SBVI to maximize VR resources;
      enhanced accountability of formula grants through monthly grant award
       reports;
      effective partnerships with the SRC, the SILC, stakeholders, and other
       state agencies;
      utilization of the SDCCD to provide administrative support to the SILC
       and the SRC; and
      collaborative IL services program that utilizes CILs, other service
       providers, community partners, and volunteers to increase independence
       through home modifications and assistive devices.

Challenges:

      increasing wages for individuals with disabilities;
      continuing to implement the order of selection consistently throughout the
       state;
      identifying employment opportunities in higher paying occupations; and
      providing VR, SE, and IL services in a predominately rural/frontier
       environment.

Performance: DRS has consistently met and/or exceeded the required
performance on VR standards and performance indicators since FY 2000.

              SBVI Strengths, Challenges and Performance
Strengths:

      enhanced accountability of formula grants through monthly grant award
       reports;
      effective partnerships with the SRC, the SILC, stakeholders, and other
       state agencies;
      statewide partnerships with other service agencies and consumer
       organizations, including the SD School for the Blind; and
      productive working relationship with DRS to maximize VR resources.




                                       48
Challenges:

      growing population of older individuals who are blind that outpaces the
       level of resources available to meet the service needs;
      identifying employment opportunities with medical benefits; and
      providing VR, SE, and OIB services in a predominately rural/frontier
       environment.

Performance: SBVI has consistently met and/or exceeded the required
performance on VR standards and performance indicators since FY 2000.

                                 Table 13
                   Summary of the Results of RSA’s Review

                        Division of Rehabilitation Services
                                   Program: VR
           Goal                       Strategies           Technical Assistance
1. Over the next three       1. Maximize                 RSA will provide
years, DRS will narrow       postsecondary training.     resources in the area of
the gap between the          2. Identify higher paying data analysis to enable
average hourly earnings      positions.                  DRS to continue to
of individuals exiting the 3. Increase and               evaluate the impact of
VR program with a paid       strengthen transition       factors contributing to
employment outcome and services for students with overall low wages.
the state average hourly     disabilities.
earnings, as addressed in 4. Work with providers on
Performance Indicator        increasing consumer
1.5.                         earnings.
                             5. Operationalize MAWD
                             to increase earnings.
                             6. Educate SSA recipients
                             about ways to maximize
                             earnings and retain
                             benefits.
                             7. Review files of
                             consumers earning less
                             than minimum wage to
                             determine improvement
                             areas to increase earnings.
                             8. Monitor the impact of
                             increases in minimum
                             wage on average hourly
                             earnings compared with
                             benchmarks for FY 2006.




                                        49
2. DRS will maintain        1. Educate SSA recipients RSA will provide
and/or increase the         about the benefits of        resources in the area of
average hours worked per    employment and ways to       data analysis to enable
week by individuals         maximize their work          DRS to continue to
exiting the VR program      hours and retain benefits. evaluate the impact of
with a paid employment      2. Operationalize MAWD factors contributing to
outcome in order to         to increase the hours of     the number of hours
improve their overall       employment.                  worked, including data
wages.                      3. Review files of           related to the impact of
                            consumers working fewer the increase in the
                            than 10 hrs/wk to            federal minimum wage.
                            determine improvement
                            areas to increase hours of
                            employment.
                            4. Assess the impact of
                            increases in minimum
                            wage on average hours
                            worked for Transition,
                            SSA, SE, and all cases,
                            compared with FY 2006
                            benchmarks.
3. DRS will maintain        1. Create partnerships       RSA will provide
and/or improve the          with business community resources in the area of
employment rate of          to increase employment       data analysis to enable
individuals with            outcomes.                    DRS to continue to
disabilities to address     2. Support employer          evaluate the impact of
Performance Indicator       activities of hiring         factors that influence the
1.2.                        individuals with             rehabilitation rate for
                            disabilities.                specific populations.
                            3. Strengthen working
                            relationships with entities,
                            agencies and
                            organizations to enhance
                            the delivery of VR
                            services to increase
                            employment outcomes.
                            4. Market individuals with
                            disabilities to employers.
                            5. Assess the impact of
                            OOS to this performance
                            indicator.
                             DRS Recommendations
Language in cooperative arrangements should be strengthened to clearly state that
the services provided under these arrangements are not a responsibility of the
cooperating agency and that only VR consumers, or those eligible for services,
can be served under the cooperative arrangement.


                                        50
                             DRS Promising Practices
1. QA - service record review process
2. Leveraging resources and maximizing access to services for transition youths
through statewide partnerships
3. Management information system: VR FACES--Fully Automated Computer
Enhanced System.
4. Internal financial reports.
                    Service to the Blind and Visually Impaired
                                    Program: VR
            Goal                       Strategies            Technical Assistance
1. SBVI will increase the 1. Identify students with       RSA will provide
rehabilitation rate for       disabilities in SD that can resources in the area of
transition youths by one      benefit from VR services data analysis to enable
percent per year over the provided by SBVI.               SBVI to continue to
next three years.             2. Track the impact on      evaluate the impact of
                              outcomes based on the       factors that influence the
                              participation in Project    rehabilitation rate for
                              Skills, Youth Leadership    transition youths.
                              Forum, SBVI Summer
                              Transition Program, and
                              other transition programs.
                              3. Revise activities in the
                              programs above, as
                              needed, to improve
                              successful outcomes.
                              4. Maximize access to
                              postsecondary transition
                              for transition youths.
2. SBVI will improve the 1. Increase incentives to        RSA will provide
quality of employment         job placement providers     resources to SBVI in the
outcomes by narrowing         to place VR participants    area of data analysis to
the gap between the           in employment that above enable SBVI to continue
average hourly earnings       SGA.                        to evaluate the factors
for SBVI participants and 2. Maximize access to           contributing to overall
the average hourly wage       post-secondary training.    low wages.
for SD.                       3. Track hour and wage
                              data for SBVI participants
                              to determine the impact of
                              increased minimum
                              wages on overall wages.
                              4. Increase the awareness
                              of and access to medical
                              benefits through the
                              MAWD program.




                                         51
3. SBVI will develop and   1. Develop a SBVI QA          RSA will provide TA
implement a QA system      guide that outlines           resources to assist SBVI
to support SBVI in         methods, procedures, and      formalize its QA
making program             results.                      processes and timelines,
improvements in a          2. Partner with other VR      develop a QA guide that
consistent and             agencies for the blind to     outlines methods and
measurable approach.       identify best practices for   procedures; identify
                           QA activities.                model QA tools and
                           3. Partner with DRS for       plans; identify promising
                           QA activities to ensure       practices from other
                           efficient use of resources.   similarly situated VR
                                                         agencies; and provide
                                                         resources on promising
                                                         models for assessing
                                                         consumer satisfaction.
                              SBVI Promising Practices
1. Management information system
2. QA – service record review process
3. Leveraging resources and maximizing access to services for transition youths
through statewide partnerships
4. Internal financial reports


                          Program: Part B IL Program
            Goal                     Strategies          Technical Assistance
Goal 1a: CILs will          1. CILs will improve       RSA will provide TA
maintain and/or increase access to assistive           resources in the areas of
the current level of IL     technology services and    outreach to unserved and
services provided by IL     telecommunications         underserved populations
service providers to        devices through Dakota     and resource
persons with significant    Link and TAD.              development, including
disabilities in SD.         2. CILs will develop and   the exchange of practices
Goal 1b: CILs will          implement outreach         with other states.
expand access to IL         strategies to unserved and
services to unserved and    underserved populations
underserved populations, in South Dakota.
including war veterans,     3. CILs will continue to
older individuals who are leverage resources
blind, Native Americans     through collaboration,
residing on reservations,   cooperation, and
and youths with             coordination with other
disabilities.               state agencies, community
                            entities and organizations
                            that serve persons with
                            disabilities.
                            4. CILs will continue to


                                       52
                           expand resource
                           development initiatives.
                           5. SILC and CILs will
                           increase community
                           awareness and knowledge
                           of disability through
                           activities such as
                           workshops and other
                           public functions.
                           6. SILC, DSUs and CILs
                           will provide ongoing
                           training to IL staff,
                           including training on
                           meeting the diverse
                           service needs of minority
                           and disability populations.
                           7. CILs will expand
                           systems advocacy
                           activities to mobilize
                           consumers to educate
                           legislators and other
                           lawmakers about the IL
                           service priorities and
                           funding needs in the state.



2. SILC, DSUs and CILs     1. SILC and DSU will           RSA will provide
will improve IL program    collaborate with CILs to       resources on other states
accountability through     assess computer                that have developed
the development and        capability, staff expertise,   uniform definitions for
implementation of a        and reporting                  IL services and provide
statewide uniform          requirements.                  TA resources from the
reporting system for the   2. SILC, DSUs, and CILs        IL Training and
collection of IL data.     will identify resources        Technical Assistance
                           (funding) to support the       grant and other sources
                           development of the data        to assist them in
                           system.                        developing uniform
                           3. SILC, DSUs, and CILs        definitions. RSA will
                           will develop uniform           also provide resources
                           definitions for IL services.   related to IL information
                           4. SILC, DSUs, and CILs        management systems.
                           will identify technical
                           expertise to identify
                           and/or develop a data
                           management system that



                                       53
                           accommodates the
                           reporting needs of the
                           CILs.
                           5. SILC, DSUs, and CILs
                           will develop and
                           implement a plan to train
                           staff on how to use the
                           new reporting system,
                           including how to record
                           IL services.

3. SILC and DSUs will      1. RSA will provide            RSA will coordinate TA
provide resources and      training and TA resources      resources through the IL
training to increase the   to SILC members to             Training and TA grant
SILC’s knowledge and       increase their knowledge       and other sources to train
understanding of its       of SILC roles and              the SILC on roles and
required statutory roles   responsibilities.              responsibilities and
and responsibilities.      2. SILC and DSUs will          promote the exchange of
                           identify sufficient            promising operational
                           resources in the SILC          practices through
                           resource plan to allow for     teleconferences with
                           the necessary training and     SILCs in other states.
                           TA of SILC members and
                           staff to fulfill their roles
                           and responsibilities.

                              IL Promising Practices
1. SILC administrative support contract with the SD CCD to ensure SILC
autonomy and provide timely reimbursement to SILC members.
2. Collaborative IL service delivery model among DSUs, SILC and CILs.
                                   Program: OIB
          Goal                         Strategies        Technical Assistance
1. SBVI will increase the 1. The OIB program will      RSA will coordinate TA
number of older              leverage resources        resources with the SD
individuals served.          through increased         OIB program from the
                             collaboration,            Rehabilitation Research
                             cooperation, and          and Training Center on
                             coordination with CILs.   Blindness and Low
                             2. CILs will provide peer Vision at Mississippi
                             support to older blind    State University, APRIL,
                             individuals.              the IL training and
                             3. The OIB staff will     technical grant, and other
                             provide training to CIL   sources as appropriate.
                             staff to prepare them to
                             work with older
                             individuals who are blind


                                       54
                            or visually impaired.

                             OIB Promising Practices
1. Closed circuit television distribution program to increase access to information.




                                        55
                         APPENDIX



                        DATA TABLES




                                                      Page



TABLE 14: DRS FY 2006 WAGE ANALYSIS FOR SUCCESSFUL
CLOSURES………………………………………………………….                       57


TABLE 15: SBVI FY 2006 WAGE ANALYSIS FOR SUCCESSFUL
CLOSURES…………………………………………………………..                      58




                          56
                Table 14 DRS: Wage Analysis for Successful Closures, FY 2006
                        Un     $0.01~    min wage $10.01~state >state avg. $20.01 ~ $30.01 & Column
    Wage Range         paid <min wage      ~ $10       avg. wage     wage~$20        $30  above Sub-Total
  Number of employment outcomes:
   Without support       0         3        486            60           21            5     1       576
    With support         0         8        259            4             0            1     0       272
  Self employment        0         1          9            0             1            0     0        11
         BEP             0                                                                            0
 Homemaker/unpaid        0                                                                            0
 Category Sub-Total      0        12        754            64           22            6     1       859
     Disability:
        Visual           0         0         10            3             0            0     0        13
   Communication         0         0         19            3             2            0     0        24
       Physical          0         3        181            31           12            3     1       231
      Cognitive          0         6        309            17            4            1     0       337
  Mental/emotional       0         3        235            10            4            2     0       254
 Category Sub-Total      0        12        754            64           22            6     1       859
      Services: (Note: Overlaps occur when a client received more than one service.)
 Job related training    0        10        599            31            9            2     0       651
  Post secondary ed      0         1         63            20            7            1     1        93
    Other training       0         2        329            31            9            2     0       373
  Rehab technology       0         1         68            14            5            1     0        89
     Restoration         0         0        114            9             3            1     0       127
 Personal assistance     0         0         10            2             0            0     0        12
       Others:
Average hours worked 0           21.2       26.8          38.0         37.5         28.7   40.0     27.9
Average weekly wage 0           $60.9     $195.4         $443.7       $604.7      $680.8 $2,094.0 $228.1
   SSI/SSDI at exit      0         9        363            9             1            1     0       383
  Transition age at
     application         0         1        238            25           10            1     1       276
Working at application 0           6        210            21           10            3     1       251
Average cost per case 0       $4,930.5   $4,023.4       $6,361.0     $10,166.4 $7,601.2 $11,881.0 $4,401.7




                                                   57
                 Table 15 SBVI: Wage Analysis for Successful Closures, FY 2006
                                       $0.01~
                               Un       <min min wage $10.01~state >state avg. $20.01 ~ $30.01 & Column
Wage Range                    paid      wage     ~ $10  avg. wage wage~$20          $30    above Sub-Total
# of employment outcomes:
Without support                   0         2        48            11           8       1        1         71
With support                      0         0        10             1           0       2        0         13
Self employment                   0         0         5             1           0       1        0          7
BEP                               0                                                                         0
Homemaker/unpaid                  5                                                                         5
Category Sub-Total                    0        2        63           13           8      4        1        96
Disability:
Visual                                5        2        61           13           8      4        1        94
Communication                         0        0         1            0           0      0        0         1
Physical                              0        0         1            0           0      0        0         1
Cognitive                             0                                                                     0
Mental/emotional                      0                                                                     0
Category Sub-Total                    0        2        63           13           8      4        1        96
Services: (Note: Overlaps occur when a client received more than one service.)
Job related training                  1        0        33            4           2      1        1        42
Post secondary ed                     0        0         1            4           3      1        0         9
Other training                        3        0        23            5           3      2        0        36
Rehab technology                      3        1        23           10           7      2        1        47
Restoration                           4        2        43            7           4      1        0        61
Personal assistance                   1        0         0            1           0      0        0         2
Others:
Average hours worked                  0     40.0      31.7         33.3        41.3   30.8     40.0       31.3
Average weekly wage                $0.0    $92.5    $251.0       $384.4      $663.8 $662.8 $1,320.0     $315.4
SSI/SSDI at exit                      1        1        21            2           1      1        0         27
Transition age at application         0        0         5            3           2      1        0         11
Working at application                0        1        29            6           5      3        1         45
Average cost per case         $12,271.8 $2,017.5 $4,582.2      $9,338.1 $12,122.3 $3,943.3 $3,632.0   $6,165.1




                                                     58
Please take a moment to participate in a survey about RSA's performance on the
FY 2007 monitoring of Vocational Rehabilitation agencies.

Visit http://www.ed.gov/rschstat/eval/rehab/107-reports/2007/survey.html




                                      59

				
DOCUMENT INFO
Shared By:
Categories:
Tags:
Stats:
views:1
posted:10/28/2011
language:English
pages:59
xiaohuicaicai xiaohuicaicai
About